Vermont Legislature Passes 'Bill Of Rights' For Sexual Assault Survivors

May 9, 2017

Vermont legislators have passed a bill that includes a number of protections for survivors of sexual assault.

Last year, former President Barack Obama signed the federal Sexual Assault Survivor's Bill of Rights, which articulates what a person is entitled to in terms counseling, access to rape kits and other services.

Auburn Watersong is the associate director of public policy at the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She says the bill, H. 74, also lifts the statute of limitations on reporting sexual assault from six years to indefinitely.

“One of the complicating factors of sexual violence is that victims often – more often than not – know their perpetrators, and the trauma is so private and intense that it can take many years, decades, before a victim is ready to come forward,” Watersong told VPR on Tuesday.

The bill also adds a misdemeanor charge for sexual assault.

A spokesperson from Gov. Phil Scott's offices says the governor's office has not received the bill from the Legislature yet.